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So, I downloaded the Fireworks trail , and started doing what looked familiar to me: drawing cute little rectangles with pretty gradients, and that sort of thing. Then I noticed that you can apply "patterns" to a gradient, or textures, to give the appearance of wood, or metal, or whatever else.
I got very excited by this because I initially *thought* that they had somehow made these gradients vector based, but with just a few magnifications, realized the patterns were bitmapped.
So my question. Why even use Fireworks if some of the coolest features create bitmaps, which in my mind, suck when displayed in Flash. Is Fireworks supposed to allow advanced features in creating high quality vector graphics, as in, better that Flash does? Is Fireworks simply an attempt to upstage Photoshop?
And lastly, maybe those pattern fills arent saved as bitmaps in the flash file, rather as flash commands to the flash renderer? This would still make me somewhat happy, as such a system would keep your bandwidth lower.
No. Fireworks is designed to produce bitmaps. If you're after scaling vector graphics then Fireworks is not the app for you.
Rather than upstaging Photoshop, Fireworks is focused on producing graphics for the web. Photoshop's web functionality has been bolted on over the years, and while an awesome program, it is vastly over-engineered for the sort of work Fireworks is suited to.
Is Fireworks simply an attempt to upstage Photoshop?
I used to be a photoshop nut and I still miss a few of the features but haven't even installed it on my new system. I started using Fireworks and became hooked. I'm glad too because it is much cheaper.
In case you didn't know, there is a way to make your imagas vector based in flash. Not highly recommended, but none the less it can be done. Under Modify -> Trace Bitmap.
Flash and Dreamweaver - yes
Fireworks and Dreamweaver - yes
The two relate to the web in very different ways. For producing well-optimised graphics that can be integrated with page structure in HTML, fireworks are an excellent package. Creating patterns in a vector based program renders the file size much higher than using standard repeat pixel method of bitmap. And would defeat the purpose of the software. Graphics are a print concept and are not effective for resizing - that is why we hack the pages to display repeat graphics and use table backgrounds for liquid designs.
I don't really think you can compare the two very easily - What they do superbly well in unison is create the whole page environment - a page made entirely using Flash or entirely DW or entirely FW will be weak - but built using all three it will be a rich dynamic and easily amendable web page.